Ken Rideout celebrated his 50th birthday in style Saturday.
While he didn’t get beat up in a boxing ring, as he might have done as a younger man, he punished his body in other ways, yet did it victoriously.
The father of four from Nashville, Tennessee turns 50 at midnight, and he marked the golden occasion by winning the Myrtle Beach Marathon.
“That’s how I celebrate turning 50,” Rideout said.
Rideout won with a time of 2 hours, 30 minutes and 57 seconds, which is about 4 ½ minutes off the course record of 2:26:24 set by Stuart Moran of Arden, N.C., in 2012
He enjoys the individual test of fortitude of distance running, and figures it is one of the few things he can still win at his stage of life.
“I’m so old now, like I’m not going to get in a boxing ring and get punched in the face,” Rideout said. “It’s probably the only thing left I can be competitive in, and at the end of the day in a running race nobody is going to punch your face when you get tired. It’s just you against yourself and I feel like I can suffer more than anybody.”
Rideout is a former prison guard who works in finance and also co-hosts “The Fight with Teddy Atlas” a boxing podcast and YouTube show with Atlas, a boxing trainer and ESPN analyst.
Rideout played NCAA Division III football and hockey at Framingham State and was an amateur boxer.
“I just started getting into endurance in my mid-30s and over the last 15 years I’ve used it as my mental health medicine,” Rideout said. “It keeps me motivated and gives me something that belongs to just me, no one else affects the training. When you have a lot of kids and a lot of responsibilities I feel you need something that no one else [impacts].”
Rideout recently moved from Los Angeles to Nashville and had a flight back home a couple hours after he crossed the finish line.
His children are ages 10, 9, 7 and 5, and his wife Shelby “is like the glue that holds it all together. She’s my mental health coach and physical trainer.”
“. . . My kids are going to be happy to see me when I get home,” he said. “Trying to squeeze in all this training while being a dad and working finance and doing the finance is a lot of [stuff] to keep track of. This is my outlet.”
Rideout didn’t choose to run his first Myrtle Beach race specifically because it was on the eve of his birthday, but it was a fortuitous coincidence.
“It was just one of the only marathons happening in person, the closest and most convenient,” said Rideout, who hadn’t run a competitive race in 14 months largely because of the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
He will be running in the World Marathon Majors World Championships in London on Oct. 3 “and I needed a race to get the legs cracking again. . . . There’s not a lot of choices to be honest with you,” said Rideout, who plans to run at least a couple half marathons before the London trip. “The goal in London will be to run under 2:30 and win the(50-54) age group championship.”
The win is Rideout’s first in a full marathon, though over the past few years he has won the Malibu, California half marathon twice, won the Pasadena half marathon featuring thousands of runners in February 2020, about the time the pandemic hit the U.S., and was second in the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach, Calif.
He ran behind the runner-up for about the first 17 miles or so, including through the headwind along Ocean Boulevard, then passed him after the turn away from the ocean.
“My goal is to always win. Even in New York and Boston until someone beats me I’m convinced I can win. So the kid who came in second insisted on running in front of me from mile 7 through 17 into the headwind and as soon as we turned out of the wind I saw he started to struggle a little. I put a gap on him and kept turning them over and chugging.”
Kelli Proctor of Erie, Pennsylvania, won the women’s race in a time of 2:52:44, which is more than 12 minutes behind Kathleen Castles’ women’s course record of 2:40:11 set in 2011.
The half marathon was won by Brett Morley of Greenville in a time of 1:10:03, and Shawanna White of Columbia won the women’s half in a time of 1:21:14.
More than 4,000 runners were registered for Saturday’s marathon, half marathon and 5-kilometer races, including nearly 1,300 in the full marathon. But there were about 1,000 no-shows and about 1,000 ran the full 26.2-mile marathon distance.
The race was originally scheduled for March 6 but was postponed because of COVID.
Myrtle Beach was one of the last marathons run in the U.S. last year and is one of the first marathons being run in the 14 months since.
The 2020 race was held March 7, four days before the NBA suspended its season, which set off the cancellation of many more domestic leagues and sporting events within a few days.
Race owner Capstone Event Group operates about a dozen road running races in North America. Myrtle Beach was Capstone’s final race of 2020, and is its first marathon of 2021.